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NEW YEAR BLUES

Which clubs have the easiest and hardest January fixtures?

It’s time to take down your Christmas decorations and decide on your New Year’s resolutions, because January is upon us!

But while the Prem’s exhausting festive schedule is done and dusted, there’s still plenty of football to sink your teeth into.

So to help you negotiate your Dream Team through the upcoming few weeks, we’ve taken a look at which clubs have the best and worst fixture-lists.

Remember, your Dream Team transfers for this month go live TOMORROW (Friday, Jan 3rd) ahead of this weekend’s FA Cup fixtures.


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Hardest – Man United

The man with the hardest job in football has an extra tricky month ahead

AFP or licensors
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The man with the hardest job in football has an extra tricky month ahead

There’s no New Year’s cheer for United boss Ole Gunnar Solksjaer, who’s facing a gruelling time of it in January.

Spirits are already low at Old Trafford after their New Year’s Day defeat to Arsenal, but there’s little time for the Red Devils to take stock of that result with an FA Cup trip to Wolves coming up on January 4.

They then entertain neighbours Man City just three days later in the Carabao Cup, before hosting relegation fighters Norwich in the Premier League.

There’s then the daunting trip to table-toppers Liverpool, before finishing the month with Burnley and the second-leg match with City.

There will certainly be some weary legs by the time February rolls around, especially with the likes of Scott McTominay and Paul Pogba both set to miss the entire month through injury.

Quite hard – Liverpool

It’s all coming up roses for the Reds

PA:Press Association
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It’s all coming up roses for the Reds

Can anyone take points off of Liverpool as they march towards their first Premier League title?

We thought the Reds would have a difficult month in December — especially with most of their team travelling to Qatar for the Club World Cup — but it just brought more success in what will undoubtedly go down as one their greatest ever seasons.

January is not without its challenges though, with tonight’s match with plucky Sheffield United followed by an FA Cup stand-off with their bitter Merseyside rivals Everton.

They then face trips to Spurs, Wolves and West Ham in between a home clash with Man United.

Easiest – Leicester

Brendan’s laughing his way through January

Reuters
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Brendan’s laughing his way through January

Defeats to Liverpool and then Man City either side of Christmas Day was a hard dose of reality for Leicester.

But they then won both of their trips to West Ham and Newcastle at the end of December to keep hold of their second-place in the Premier League table; a point ahead of City.

And January could turn out to be a very good month for Brendan Rodgers’ title-pretenders, as it begins with three home games against Wigan (in the FA Cup), Aston Villa and Southampton.

Tricky trips to Burnley and Aston Villa sandwich their King Power clash with West Ham, but we imagine there will be few Foxes fans with any complaints over their January run.

Easy – Chelsea

Can Chelsea solidify their place in the top four this month?

PA:Press Association
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Can Chelsea solidify their place in the top four this month?

It’s hard to really know what to expect from Chelsea at the moment.

The Blues lost home games against relegation-strugglers Bournemouth and Southampton last month, but also beat Spurs and Arsenal away from home.

But even with their recent problems with consistency, there’s no denying that Chelsea have a relatively straight-forward month ahead with just four matches to contend — home games against Nottingham, Burnley and Arsenal, as well as a trip to Newcastle.

Quite easy – Arsenal

There’s still plenty of work to do for Arteta

AFP or licensors
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There’s still plenty of work to do for Arteta

All eyes are on Arsenal again following their win over Man United on New Year’s Day — their first under new boss Mikel Arteta.

The Gunners suddenly have a spring in their step, with even Mesut Ozil looking back to his best in the 2-0 victory.

The trick now is to see if the North Londoners can carry their momentum through the month, which starts with their FA Cup duel with Championship leaders Leeds, followed by games with Crystal Palace, Sheffield United and Chelsea.

Keep an extra close eye on Arsenal players this month, as they could be about to embark on a rich run of good form under their new gaffer.


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